Authorities: Former CEO put private plane on autopilot to engage in sexual activity with minor

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

A New Jersey man was sentenced to seven years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl on his private airplane after he set it on autopilot.

Stephen Bradley Mell, 53, of Far Hills, was sentenced Monday in federal court.

Mell is the former CEO of a New Jersey investment firm.

He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct and receipt of child pornography. 

According to authorities, he had also received nude images of the girl.

Mell's legal team argued before Monday's sentencing that Mell had fallen into "a spiral of depression" brought on by survivor's guilt because he had given up his seat on a helicopter that crashed, killing his friends on board.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.

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